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just a bunch of STUFF
Mar 9, 2006

My dad is hiv+ and has been since 2002. He just turned 52 at his last birthday. My dad is just about the most amazing and the best person ever! He is going to be the reason why I marry a good man one day. I have been trying to learn all that I can about hiv and how he might be reacting to it. My largest frustration has been that everyone is different and unquie, so there is pretty much no way to know where he is going health wise. I remember going to the play 'Rent' with my dad a long time ago, and loving it. I recently bought the dvd, and decided I needed to have someone tell me that the way the character Angel dies, was done because it is Hollywood. That is the epitemy of the way I do not want my dad to die! I mean, if he does ever find himeself on his death bed, I will be there, and I will love him and care for him, but it will tear me up inside. I have gone through SO MANY emotions after my dad told me he was hiv+, and now I am at a stage where I want to know! I want to know it all! I have even contacted the health educator at the on campus health center here at Northern Arizona University where I am about to graduate! My dad sent me his lab results that have them back to when he was first diagnosed, and I actually knew what the numbers meant, well, pretty much. His cd4 count is now at 480 and his viral load has gone from 2590 to undetectable for the past 8 months. When he started treatment, his viral load dropped almost immediately. Is there any way at all to be able to say 'yeah, my dad is doing really well with his health and he is likely going to live to be an old and wrinkly man' or 'oh gosh, dad is really not doing so hot and he may find himself at aids faster than I would have liked'? From my own research, it doenst seem like that is possible. I am having way too much fun just being with my dad and not worrying about when he will get worse or better, so its not THAT big a deal, yet I still wonder. Being a girl, I just feel like he had better be at my wedding to give me away! Otherwise, I would have to look up to heaven and say that my father is giving me away, but I would rather have him there to do it in person. Its hard for me to know that my dad doesnt feel okay going to the church he grew up in, the Catholic Church. He now goes to a United Church of Christ, which I think is great, until he feels alright walking into the Catholic church with his partner. It will happen, but it may not be in his lifetime. I guess I really just wanted to finally make contact with other humans who know about hiv and be able to talk. I dont really have a question about side effects, because I can just ask my dad what he is experiencing. I more or less chose a 'forum' based on the photos of the 'experts' and thought this Keith Henry looked like a nice guy. Anyway, thanks for reading, you may not know how appreciative I am to simply have someone out there who may kind of understand. My college friends try, but to them, hiv is still a very scary disease that they would rather stay away from. THANKS!! Natalie

Response from Dr. Henry

If an HIV+ patient is taking an effective HIV regimen and their viral load goes to undetectable AND their CD4 count rises to above 450 like your dad's that is a GOOD RESPONSE. As long as he keeps taking his meds it is likely the HIV can be controlled and he can remain free of AIDS complications for a very long time (we are shooting for decades). Thus hopefully he also is watching for diabetes, high blood pressure, stop smoking cigarette, good diet etc to avoid other main causes of death as people age (cancer, heart disease and stroke). KH



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